Hyundai, Netradyne Partner on HD Mapping & Navigation

A subsidiary of South Korean automaker Hyundai is teaming up with Netradyne, a provider of artificial intelligence tech for fleet safety, to develop a dynamic, high-definition mapping platform for vehicles.

Hyundai Mnsoft specializes in location-based services (LBS), cloud-based connected navigation software and HD maps for autonomous vehicles.

The two companies will work closely to research and develop HD maps for next-generation vehicles, exploiting Netradyne’s crowdsourced deep vision technologies and vision-based road feature analytics.

Netradyne has already been in a competitive proof of concept (PoC) trial with Mnsoft for close to a year, using its Driveri camera to map parts of the US in high definition.

Driveri is a vision-based driver recognition safety program that captures each minute of the driving experience, offering safety managers a complete view of their drivers’ day, including HD map data capabilities.

The platform draws on a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) approach to crowd-source updates for events such as accidents, or road construction, in addition to static elements such as lane markings, signs and signals.

This approach to mapping is seen as a better way to ensure that autonomous vehicles are safe on the road.

“In my view crowdsourcing is definitely the way to go in the future. All OEMs have the same goal, which is to get the most information they can when it comes to road networking,” Sam Barker, a senior analyst with Juniper, told TU-Automotive.

He explained crowdsourcing is the most cost-effective way of essentially getting this information and making the service scale up.

“What comes next is figuring out how they maximize the number of vehicles that can provide that information,” Barker said. “There is going to be more and more data updated more and more frequently.”

Barker noted that HD mapping is just going to be one component of a holistic group of sensors and tools used on autonomous vehicles alongside other technologies such as 5G networks and Lidar.

The hurdle is not so much how accurate HD mapping systems can get (Barker argues that for tasks like navigating city streets, current navigation systems do just fine); the future challenge will be getting back-end infrastructure up to speed.

“Reducing latency, building out 5G networks, improving the ability to send information to remote server locations where data can be sent back very quickly — the infrastructure needed here will require a large investment,” he said.

While OEMs, mapping specialists and network operators are focused on the back end, application developers will be focusing on the user experience and user interface, making sure navigation commands are understood and able to adapt to the sudden whims of a driver who has decided last minute on a different route.

“At the moment, however, the people in development are very much focused on the back end. The key word here is safety,” Barker said.

Hyundai is also looking into augmented reality (AR) navigation for its vehicles, as evidenced by its recent investment in Swiss deep-tech provider WayRay,

WayRay claims to create an experience where virtual objects are integrated into a vehicle’s interior environment. Compared to conventional heads-up displays available in the market, the system claims a smaller projection set-up, providing a clearer image, which can be installed in most vehicle types.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.


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